Don Gardner and Dee Dee Ford
Here we are again on a Monday, and it feels like Summer is halfway over. We’ve had record rains throughout the month that have prohibited some digging, so hopefully July will bring us some better weather. I’m still working away on some Guest Mixes, and when they are done, I will let you know how to get them. I revisited Myspace, a place I really haven’t been on in probably a year, so if you’d like to follow me on there, click on this link. Today’s record is something I also revisited at the last Asbury Park 45 Sessions. I had put it in a box, and when I was flipping through stuff for a mix, I said “Hot Damn!”, I need to play this record out again. Here it resurfaces once more at FMF. Straight out of Philly, this is going out to the Devil Dick and the JJB. Here’s Don Gardner and “My Baby Likes To Boogaloo” on Tru-Glo-Town Records.
Born in Philadelphia, PA in 1931, Gardner has been involved in music for almost 60 years. He released in first recording in 1949, a 78 called “Dearest Darling”. In the late 40’s he was a singer in Harry ‘Fat Man’ Crafton & The Craftones, before he had his own band. Gardner (labeled as Donald), out out a side for the Gotham label in 1949 as well, “September Song”. “He spent most of the 1950’s touring the chitlin’ circuit of the East Coast with his band the Sonotones. The Sonotones had three singles: “How Do You speak to an Angel”, “I Hear a Rhapsody”, and “I’ll Walk Alone”, all on Bruce Records. Gardner would also put out side for DeLuxe and Junior labels. Said to have discovered the great Jimmy Smith, the band would also feature Richard “Groove” Holmes at one time. Holmes would leave in 1960, and Gardner would go on to partner up with Wrecia Holloway, aka Miss Dee Dee Ford. They instant gelling of the two would produce hits for the two of them (“I Need Your Lovin”, “Don’t You Worry”) and Ford would also write a hit for others, Betty LaVette among them. Gardner and Ford would see much success, being embraced in Europe, and after a few European tours (and stands in Sweden particularly), the two would soon part ways due to Ford’s illness. She eventually dropped out of the music scene and Gardner went on solo. His release of this side in 1966, and 1967’s “Cheatin’ Kind” filled the dance floors up. Don would move to to do promotions and be the road manager for Curtom Record, specifically Curtis Mayfield after that. His only brush with the charts after that was a duet with Baby Washington on “Forever” in 1974, where after that he left the music game until a few years ago. Inbetween he owned a construction copmpany in Atlanta, and after relocating back to Philly in 1985, he started doing music again with a nonprofit group called the Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts. Don Gardner has started to perform again within the last five years, and the good people at Dig Deeper have had Don slay them in Brooklyn as of late. Gardner was and still is a Northern Soul legend to this day.
A sweet little number with some dirty guitar and a out of sight and uptight drum beat, My Baby has Gardner wailing, moving and grooving like JB. The addition of the organ (I was instantly in love!) just puts this thing over the top. You should have this in your collection and or record box. It is definitely a dance floor killer and most importantly a great side indeed. East Coast and Philly stand up! Issued on the Englewood, NJ label Tru-Glo-Town, this side really smokes. FMF recommended for sure. See you midweek. Keep Diggin’!